Front Street 1922 by Andre Bieler. *Image by Andre Bieler
Front Street 1922 by Andre Bieler. *Image by Andre Bieler

Andre Bieler (Canadian) visited Bermuda only once. This was in the winter of 1922. As he was French Canadian and had studied in Paris, his composition, colour and subject matter had a decidedly French flavour. 


Front Street, 1922 (pictured) is a charming work which shows an aspect of life along the Hamilton waterfront at that time. In the foreground a ferryman awaits a fare to the Paget shore. The three boats tied to the docks would have been typical of the time; on the right is a Bermuda-rigged working boat and what looks like a tugboat or pilot boat is close by. The schooner is probably either delivering goods to the dock or taking them on board for a speedy trip to Somerset or St Georges. 

The warm light suggests the sun is in the south and the angle of the sun would lead us to believe the work was painted in the morning. The tall building in the middle background is the present home of Calypso Ltd. But at that time it was Miles Market. Along the waterfront are the sheds, which protected the incoming and outgoing produce, and most Bermudians still refer to “the sheds” today. The dappled colours of the water suggest a shimmering reflected light which only adds to the peacefulness, tranquility and timelessness. However, how long did the oarsman have to wait for his fare? 

Tom Butterfield is founder of the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art.